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In Pakistan, protesters stream into the capital in support of ousted judges

Tens of thousands are pressuring the government to reinstate the judges, who were dismissed under President Musharraf.

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Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's problems have reappeared right where they first began more than a year ago: in the streets.

Follow a precarious period that saw martial law, Mr. Musharraf's resignation as Army chief, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, a general election, and months of political maneuvering, tens of thousands of protesters from across Pakistan, led by prominent lawyers and political leaders, arrived in Islamabad Friday to again demand that the judges of the Supreme Court, whom Musharraf dismissed last year, be restored.

A return of the sacked judges threatens to bring down Musharraf, who has been unsuccessful at consolidating his rule as a civilian president after quitting his Army post last November. At the time of their dismissal, the judges were poised to declare Musharraf's rule unconstitutional. But the president isn't the only one feeling the heat from the street demonstrations. The new government, which won the recent election in part on promises of reinstating the judges, is also under pressure to deliver.

"In the preelection scenario, getting rid of Musharraf was the focus of the movement, and the restoration [of judges] was being demanded of him as well," explains Khalid Rahman, director general of the Institute for Policy Studies, a policy think tank in Islamabad. "In the post-election scenario, the target remains President Musharraf – people still want him out – but the movement is now pressuring the new parliament to fix the problem."


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